Walk into any grocery store and you’ll see shelves after shelves of canned vegetables and other foods. Walk into the snack aisle and you’ll see rows of dried fruits and dehydrated meats like jerky. But it turns out there’s an even better way to maintain flavor and nutrients.
Freeze-drying, also known as lyophilization or cryodesiccation, is a dehydration process that involves freezing the product and lowering pressure at low-temps, removing the ice by sublimation. (For the non-chemists, that means converting moisture from ice directly into a gas and skipping the liquid state.)
Freeze-drying is a gentle, relatively quick process that preserves the original structure and composition of the material being dried. This makes it a valuable method for preserving food, and even other industries like pharmaceuticals and others with heat-sensitive materials. This makes it a totally different process than conventional methods that use heat to evaporate water.
How does freeze-drying work?
- Freezing: Items are frozen to temperatures typically below -58°F turning the water inside into ice crystals.
- Primary Drying: Pressure is lowered and heat is added causing ice crystals to sublimate.
- Secondary drying: Temperature rises to remove any remaining water molecules.
Benefits of freeze-drying food:
When it comes to food, freeze-drying can level-up the way you think about healthy foods on-the-go. That’s because it does a better job maintaining original flavors, textures and nutrients than foods dried by other methods. Freeze-dried foods also have a longer shelf life than dehydrated foods since the water is removed. Removing the water helps make these foods lightweight and portable, making them perfect for on-the-go snacking. (That’s how Switchback Produce Powder is able to fit almost 5 cups of fruits and vegetables into one packet!)
Overall, freeze-drying is a powerful technology that can maximize the life of natural and nutritious foods. Now when you hear about freeze-drying, you’ll know all about the process and the benefits that come from it. No Chemistry degree needed.